Victories by West Indies A team against Sri Lanka A in Sri Lanka on Friday and by the West Indies women’s team against England in Kingston, Jamaica yesterday have set the cricketing Caribbean backing the West Indies senior men’s team to beat Pakistan in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates today to complete a second regional triple treat this year.
The West Indies men require another 251 runs from 90 overs at best today, fifth and last day of the historic 400th Test match for Pakistan, a Test that’s the second in history as a day-night affair and with pink balls, not the traditional red or white, being used.
West Indies have all of eight wickets intact with first-innings partnership-high pair Darren Bravo (26) and Marlon Samuels (2) resuming the chase with West Indies 96 for 2 at close yesterday.
A West Indies victory will put a fitting seal on a match that saw Pakistan in the ascendancy until yesterday when West Indies Guyanese leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo laid down the best bowling figures by a visiting bowler in Asia and the all-time fifth-best innings figures by a leg-spinner of 8 wickets for 49 runs.
Bishoo’s crush squeezed Pakistan to 123 all out in their second innings, a far cry from their first, a mammoth 579 for 3 declared with Azhar Ali making 302 not out. West Indies reply of 357, a deficit of 222, saw Pakistan in the race for second innings runs for a feel-safe victory target to set West Indies.
But Bishoo spoiled their day and now the focus is on both on the West Indies bating and perchance Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah whose five-wicket haul in West Indies first innings made him joint second bowler in Test history to a 100 wickets in fewest Tests.
In February this year in Bangladesh, the West Indies Under-19 team won the ICC Cricket Worl Cup 50-over championship and in April the West Indies women’s team and the West Indies men’s team won their respective ICC Cricket World Cup T20 championships.
Beaten by Pakistan in all three T20sand also in the three ODI matches on tour to date, a West Indies win over Pakistan today will also match those by the women’s team and the A team for stunning reversals as after the A team lost the first Test by seven wickets to Sri Lanka A, they beat the Sri Lankans by 333 runs in the second. The women’s team meanwhile lost Friday’s third ODI to England by a humiliating 112 runs but hit back to win by 42 yesterday to tie the series at 2-2.